About the Satellites
Ex-Alta 2, AuroraSat, and YukonSat are registered with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) under an amateur radio designation. The satellites’ callsigns are:
Ex-Alta 2: VE6UAB
As of April 28, 2023, the satellites have not yet had their callsigns programmed in and the beacons have identical interim data instead.
The satellites have been assigned by space-track.org the following NORAD Catalog Numbers:
Ex-Alta 2: 56313
NOTE: as of April 28, 2023 these assignments and the corresponding TLEs are not consistent with the deployment sequence, and so may still change.
- Ex-Alta 2 was deployed together with ArkSat 1 (56311) and Lightcube (56314)
- YukonSat and AuroraSat were deployed together with Neudose (56315).
We suspect that the correct assignment is:
- ArkSat 1 : 56311
- Lightcube : 56312
- Ex-Alta 2 : 56313
- Neudose : 56314
- AuroraSat : 56315
- YukonSat : 56316
Nominal service will be QPSK on 437.875 MHz for all three satellites.
Deployment: 12:05 UTC April 24th, 2023
Current expected service: 12:05 UTC April 24th, 2023
First Beacon: Coming Soon!
The Northern SPIRIT satellites are equipped to do AX.25.
How to Track
Most satellites are tracked by radio detection or triangulation. The knowledge gained on the satellite’s position is published in the Two Line Element (TLE) format. The Northern SPIRIT satellites will be deployed from the International Space Station, so ISS TLE at the time of deployment were used to approximate the satellites’ TLEs.
The TLEs can be found on CelesTrak at the following link by searching for the satellite name, https://celestrak.org/satcat/search.php
Software such as Orbitron or GPredict can be used to track satellites on personal computers.
Updated April 27, 2023.
Amateurs can listen to the beacon on 437.875 MHz. The beacon is programmed to broadcast every 30 seconds using AX.25 packets using 2GFSK modulation at 9600 baud. They can be decoded using beaconDecoder.py, available on the AlbertaSat github.
How to Contribute
Any files, recordings, or information collected by radio amateurs can be sent to AlbertaSat via an upload portal TBD, or please use the Contact Us page. Any further questions or concerns can also be sent to the AlbertaSat team via the Contact Us page. We can normally respond within 24 hours.
The primary radio for interfacing with the satellite is an Ettus B200mini SDR, which operates in the UHF band.
Currently, we are able to transmit and receive in the UHF band.
We have webcams streaming from the roof where our UHF antennas are located. You can view them at www.carisma.ca/webcams from a Firefox browser. If nothing appears in the feed, the mast may be lowered for maintenance, or you may need to switch browsers..
This section was written by VE6CNK/Charles Nokes and updated by VE6IMU/Hariharan Krishnan, VE6INT/Steven Sager and VE6MGA/Helena Ard. AlbertaSat has over 50 members with basic amateur radio certification and about 10 members with advanced amateur radio certification – all of whom are excited to learn and share in the field of amateur radio.
*This section is no longer being updated.*
About the Satellite
Ex-Alta 1 was registered with the ITU under an amateur radio designation. Our satellite callsign is ON03CA. (Oscar November Zero Three Charlie Alpha).
Nominal service was 4k8 GMSK on 436.705 MHz. Faster service could be 9k6 or 19k2 GMSK on 436.705 MHz, but usually just over Canada.
Current expected service: 4k8 GMSK on 436.705 MHz. Updated 21:44 June 17, 2017 UTC.
Deployment: 08:55 UTC May 26, 2017.
First Beacon: Received by KR01 team, received and decoded by JA0CAW! See https://albertasat.ca/ex-alta-1-beacon-format/ for details.
Ex-Alta 1 did not use AX.25. Instead, it used a CCSDS-derived packet structure that encloses the Cubesat Space Protocol originally developed by Aalborg University and Gomspace.
Information on this is available through several websites. A few are linked here:
How to Track
Most satellites are tracked by radio detection or triangulation. The knowledge gained on the satellite’s position is published in the Two Line Element format. . Ex-Alta 1 was deployed from the International Space Station, so that was a good place to start until we got better tracking information.
Ex-Alta 1 gets new TLE’s daily. Check out http://www.n2yo.com/satellite/?s=42734
Updated May 26, 2017.
Software such as Orbitron or GPredict can be used on personal computers, and the QB50 mission server can be used to visualize locations in real time on any device.
Check out the mission server homepage for a live map of all QB50 satellites and ground stations!
How to Decode
A very useful blog to read is available from Daniel Estévez/EA4GPZ/MOHXM. This blog details contacts with GOMX-3, which flew the same radio as Ex-Alta 1. While the beacon format and information sent during downlink are not similar, the modulation, encoding, antenna, and protocol are identical. Read about it here, and try searching for GOMX to see all the relevant blog posts.
Also from EA4GPZ is a complete git repository with GNURadio libraries that can be used to decode CSP packets from Ex-Alta 1 with minor changes.
The beacon format for Ex-Alta 1 can be found on a dedicated page here. The beacon is programmed to broadcast every 30 seconds.
If you need more information for your setup to successfully receive and decode signals from Ex-Alta 1, please use the Contact Us page. We’re happy to share what we have.
How to Contribute
Any files, recordings, or information collected by radio amateurs can be uploaded to the QB50 mission server through the link below. Be sure to select the correct satellite – be it Ex-Alta 1 or any other QB50 satellite – from the dropdown menu. Also select the upload type. An account on the mission server website is required so that all uploads can be matched to a name or callsign, and a running tally of successful contacts can be maintained.
Any further questions or concerns can be sent to the AlbertaSat team via the Contact Us page. We can normally respond within 24 hours.
The primary radio for interfacing with the satellite is an ground station copy of the one being flown. We also have an Ettus B200mini for interfacing with other satellites.
Currently we are able to transmit and receive in the UHF band, and receive only in the VHF band.
We have a webcam streaming photos from the roof where our antennas are located. (If nothing appears in the feed, the mast may be lowered for maintenance.)
This section was written by Collin Cupido/VA6ISS. AlbertaSat has over 30 members with basic amateur radio certification and about 10 members with advanced amateur radio certification – all of whom are excited to learn and share in the field of amateur radio.
This page was last updated May 2021